5 Things You Didn’t Know About Frank Sinatra’s First Wife (Nancy Barbato)

Nancy Barbato was the first spouse of the late music artist, Frank Albert Sinatra. He was one of the 20th century’s most popular and influential singers, having registered over 150 million record sales across the globe. Nancy often changed her wardrobe and hairstyle and had her teeth capped as her husband’s fame grew. Despite all her efforts to hold him down, her late husband moved on to have flings with several women which resulted in their marriage annulment in 1951. Even after their separation, Nancy Barbato still maintained a cordial relationship with him until the time of his demise in 1998, and she never remarried. Sadly, she passed on in 2018 when she was 101 years old.

Nancy Barbato’s Background

Frank Sinatra’s first wife was born on 25th March 1917 in Jersey City to Italian-American parents, Michaelangelo Barbato and Jennie Fogacci. Her father worked as a plastering contractor while her mother was a homemaker. At the age of 17, she got acquainted with Frank Sinatra in Long Branch on the New Jersey Shore. She then moved on to exchange vows with him in 1939. The marriage produced three children, Nancy, Frank Jr, and Tina Sinatra before it’s annulment in 1951.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Frank Sinatra’s First Wife

1. Nancy Barbato Loved Cooking

One of Nancy Barbato’s hobbies was cooking. She was skilled at cooking Italian dishes which was her late husband’s favorite. Frank loved her meals as she often cooked him spaghetti just the way he liked it and also baked him lemon meringue pies. Even after their separation, Nancy took to the duty of instructing Frank’s valet on how to prepare his favorite food which included roasted peppers, pasta, scrambled egg sandwiches, and steak. During such time, Frank visited his wife’s home for years to see their children and equally stayed for home-cooked meals.

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2. Her Son Was Once Kidnapped

Nancy Barbato’s only son, Frank Jr who was a singer-songwriter and conductor was once kidnapped in 1963 and held for a ransom of about $240,000. During that time, her home in the exclusive Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles was flooded by Police and news media personalities. Her son, however, was eventually released by kidnappers named Barry Keenan, Johnny Irwin, and Joe Amsler, after four days as they were later apprehended. Tragically, Frank Jr passed away in March 2016 at the age of 72 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

3. Tommy Sands Was Her Son-in-Law

The first daughter of Frank Sinatra’s first wife, Nancy Sandra Sinatra married the pop music singer and actor, Tommy Sands in 1960 and later got divorced in 1965. Tommy who was born as Thomas Adrian Sands became a teen idol in 1957 following his appearance in the drama/Anthology TV series titled, Kraft Television Theatre. He moved on to feature in other TV series and movies that announced him globally which includes Combat!, Hawaii Five-O, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Slattery’s People, Love in a Goldfish Bowl, The Longest Day, None but the Brave, The Violent Ones, among several others. As a music artist, Tommy is known for releasing sensational singles such as ‘Life Is So Lonesome/A Dime And A Dollar’, ‘Don’t Drop It/A Place For Girls Like You’, ‘Something’s Bound To Go Wrong/Kissing Ain’t No Fun’, ‘Teen-Age Crush/Hep Dee Bootie’, among others.

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4. Nancy Barbato’s Two Daughters Both Pursued Careers in Acting

Nancy Barbato
Nancy Barbato with her two daughters (image source)

Nancy Barbato’s two daughters followed in the footsteps of their father and established themselves as well-known actresses, although Tina retired in 2004. Nancy who is also a singer has featured in movies such as For Those Who Think Young, Get Yourself a College Girl, Marriage on the Rocks, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, The Wild Angels, Speedway, among others. Tina, on the other hand, appeared in Romeo und Julia 70, Adam-12, It Takes a Thief, Mannix and others. She also served as the producer of movies like Fantasy Island, Sinatra and The Manchurian Candidate.

5. She Was a Grandmother of Seven

Nancy Barbato’s son married Cynthia McMurray in October 1998, and formally got separated in January 2000. From his previous relationships, he had three daughters and two sons. Then her daughter, Nancy who got separated from Tommy Sands in 1965 married Hugh Lambert in 1970 and shared two daughters with him named Angela Jennifer “AJ” Lambert Paparozzi and Amanda Catherine Lambert Erlinger. Before Nancy’s demise in 2018, she was also a great grandmom, although the names of her great-grandchildren have never been made public.

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